When people hear the term “event venue”, there is one popular option that is rarely considered – government embassies. Since embassies serve important diplomatic functions as a cultural and political extension of a foreign nation in the country where they are located, it should come as no surprise that part of engaging diplomatically and culturally involves hosting embassy events. From massive formal events like state dinners to casual meetups, visa appointment fairs, and more, embassies host events regularly.
However, unlike most event venues, planning considerations for embassy events are much more nuanced and fraught with risk. From obvious security concerns around admitting guests, to complexities involving language accessibility, communicating cultural norms, processing payments as a foreign entity, and much more, event planners working with an embassy client should approach the process with eyes wide open in terms of to-do lists to pull of a successful embassy event. Let’s dive into some of the unique challenges involved when planning an embassy event and choosing the appropriate event management software for your needs.
While many events involve security and privacy considerations, most do not involve international borders. Remember that because embassies essentially serve as outposts of the home country’s land, admitting guests to an embassy event is somewhat similar to crossing a border. This is especially true for embassies of countries with levels of political or diplomatic tension with the host country, where added levels of security and clearance may be required.
For event planners working on embassy events, understanding security requirements for both pre-clearing attendees and admitting them at the event itself is the first priority. These security concerns will impact every element of event planning (including getting vendors admitted, what guests are allowed to bring, plus ones, etc), and must be considered before any standard event logistics begin. Ideally, you will want to find event software that offers robust security settings, as well as identity verification tools to build directly into your event check-in process.
Given embassy events often involve guest lists spanning a variety of nationalities, language considerations are enough early event planning consideration with an outsized impact. From implementing a multi-language event registration experience to communicate essential event details (including security considerations) to every guest, to the actual event experience (such as translators to assist for speakers or event announcements), it is critical for event planners to communicate with hosts and stakeholders to anticipate these needs to ensure a smooth event experience for all attending.
Because embassy events can vary greatly depending on both the nationality and the actual type of event, customization options in both event software and vendor options is essential. From little details like being able to add the national flag/branding to the event registration process, to creating unique event swag that reflects the host country’s culture, seeking out vendors who prioritize customization for event hosts is key.
When choosing an event software platform, it’s worth exploring options for white-label branding, design control, and language features to incorporate the different needs outlined above. Likewise, make sure to communicate host requests to vendors before signing contracts to prepare them for the flexibility needed and avoid headaches down the road.
If you need to sell tickets to embassy events, you will also want to ensure you’ve explored potential roadblocks from collecting varied currencies or distributing funds between vendors and embassy hosts. While most embassy events can likely integrate with common online payment processors like Stripe, fees and local country regulations can cause unexpected headaches that can make distributing revenue to vendors or stakeholders painful. Be sure to confirm with your payment processing provider if there are any restrictions with accepting certain currencies or methods of payment before sending out invitations to your guests.
For event planners who envision long-term and ongoing embassy event contracts, the last consideration actually involves simplifying event planning for future events. Since embassy event needs are so particular, crafting a preferred vendor list (that can always be updated after sequences of events) including workflows is perhaps the best “hack” for making it easier to plan an embassy event. While the first experience will still require a significant amount of homework to handle the aforementioned requirements, by automating large parts of the process through vendors who are proven to be capable of handling the unique needs of embassy events, or through an ongoing subscription with a capable event software platform, future embassy event planning can become as routine as any wedding or retirement party.